On August 3, 2012, the Judge Advocates General and the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps presented the 2012 Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Awards (OYMLA) at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. Co-sponsored by the ABA YLD and the Judge Advocates Association (JAA), over 300 attendees witnessed the ceremony during the ABA YLD Assembly. Coast Guard Lieutenant Michael Walker organized and conducted the presentation, which honored five OYMLA recipients, one from each military branch. The nominees and winners of the awards were recognized by their peers and superiors as exceptional members of the military legal community based on their commitment to service, leadership, and achievement.
About the Award
The OYMLA is given annually to one judge advocate from each U.S. military branch: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The nominees must be active duty officers under the age of 36, or first admitted to practice law within the last five years. Winners are selected based on their professional accomplishments, service to the community, leadership, and development of subordinates. Contact information and a list of the current and past award winners can be found on the ABA website at www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/awards_scholarships/outstanding_young_military_service_lawyer_award.html.
And the winners are . . .
U.S. Army Captain Jason S. Ballard. Captain Ballard is currently the Commander of the Student Detachment at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School and carries the distinction of being the first judge advocate to serve in this role. Previously, he served two combat tours with the 10th Mountain Division, acting as an Operational and Administrative Law Attorney, the Chief of Military Justice, and the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate. Between deployments, Capt. Ballard also served as a Brigade Judge Advocate.
Capt. Ballard’s extensive trial experience includes prosecuting two attempted murder cases and later defending over 40 cases as Senior Defense Counsel. He has lectured at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University and acted as a subject matter expert for deployed military justice issues at the Brigade Judge Advocate Mission Primer.
In addition to volunteering for local Red Cross and Goodwill organizations, Capt. Ballard is an active member of the Church of the Incarnation and a volunteer soccer coach. He is a Graduate Mentor for the West Virginia University Recruiting Committee, an active member of the West Virginia University Alumni Association, and involved in the West Virginia Bar Association’s Government Lawyers’ Committee.
U.S. Marine Corps Captain Anthony T. Garofano. Captain Garofano currently serves as Company Commander, Combat Logistics Regiment-17, with responsibility for over 450 Marines. His other tours have included acting as trial counsel for the Legal Services Support Section, 1st Marine Logistics Group and 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, as Battalion Judge Advocate for the 1st Marine Division, and as trial counsel for cases arising out of the 5th Marine Regiment. Captain Garofano’s service as Battalion Judge Advocate also included deployment to Afghanistan.
Capt. Garofano’s service and dedication to the Marine Corps has inspired peers and colleagues to seek out his opinions, analyses, and recommendations. During his deployments, he used his knowledge of legal and military issues to support Marines and commanders on the ground. Capt. Garofano also contributes to his community by assisting Marines and their families with a variety of legal issues, including landlord-tenant disutes.
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Brian C. Haagensen. Lieutenant Haagensen currently serves as the Staff Judge Advocate at Naval Submarine Support Command (NSSC) at Pearl Harbor, which includes 19 submarine Command Teams and three Squadron Commodores. In that capacity, he advises the NSSC team members on a wide variety of legal issues, including ethics and military justice, and in administrative measures affecting the submarine force, such as security clearance, HIPAA regulations, and nuclear NEC qualification.
Lt. Haagensen has spent 40% of his career underway or deployed, having served in some of the most demanding environments possible. He acted as defense counsel for the Naval Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic, where he represented Navy SEALs facing disciplinary action and a captain facing an Admiral’s Mast (a form of nonjudicial punishment for disciplinary offenses that do not rise to the level of a court-martial). Lt. Haagensen has worked with coalition and interagency partners as a Rule of Law Attorney for Multi-National Forces in Iraq, and he has assisted sailors obtain U.S. citizenship in his capacity as Assistant Command Judge Advocate on the USS Harry S. Truman.
U.S. Air Force Major Charles J. Hebner. Major Hebner is currently deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the Chief of Detention Operations Law for NATO. After joining the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG Corps) in 2002, he served as Chief of Adverse Actions at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where he handled all administrative and disciplinary personnel matters and provided legal assistance to service members in need. At Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, Maj. Hebner served as the Chief Prosecutor for felony-level offenders and later as Area Defense Counsel providing legal defense services to the base population.
Maj. Hebner deployed for a year as Expeditionary Area Defense Counsel for 30,000 Air Force servicemembers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Southwest Asia. He then continued on to Europe, where he served as Executive Officer and Command Ethics Advisor, before being selected to serve as a Legislative Fellow. During his tenure as a Legislative Fellow, Maj. Hebner worked to address the funding dynamics of strategic assistance to Pakistan as part of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s staff and later joined a select group of Air Force officers working with Senator James E. Risch on issues concerning the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Military Affairs.
Upon return to the United States, he will serve as Legislative Counsel to the Secretary of the Air Force, advising on issues including legislative proposals, annual reporting requirements, environmental and personnel policies, and future mission preparation. Maj. Hebner has also contributed to his community as a soccer coach, church youth leader, and Cub Scout leader.
U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Bryan R. Blackmore. Lieutenant Blackmore is currently assigned to Legal Service Command in Alameda, California, where he is matrixed to the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Coast Guard Pacific Area. Before serving as a judge advocate, Lt. Blackmore served as Deck Watch Officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell and Operations Watch Officer at the Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center. He joined the JAG Corps in 2006 and reported to the Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic, Legal Division, where he was assigned to the Atlantic Area and Fifth District Legal Office.
Lt. Blackmore was later assigned to the Naval Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic, where he represented 25 clients in courts-martial and administrative separations proceedings. Also during this time, he volunteered for a critical combat-zone deployment as Legal Advisor to Joint Task Force 134 in Iraq. Lt. Blackmore then deployed to Louisiana to volunteer legal support for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and served as Legal Advisor to the Incident Commander.
As a leader and innovator, Lt. Blackmore was instrumental in the development of a unique, cross-disciplinary sexual assault prevention training module that has now been adopted throughout the Coast Guard. In serving his community, Lt. Blackmore has volunteered as a high school and youth soccer coach, and he is actively involved in the school’s Parent Teacher Association.
For more information about the Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Awards, visit ABA YLD Awards page at www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/awards_scholarships.html.